Posts Tagged ‘beer’

Burger and off Old Speckled Hen at Tilly Shilling

October 3, 2019

I was going to the Tilly Shilling but as I passed by Pick a Bap Korean restaurant in the shabby shopping centre I decided to drop in instead.

A big mistake. Sweat and sour chicken, I barely touched it.

Each visit to Pick a Bap has been worse.

Friday night, I left half eaten, Monday barely touched.

Food not in the same league as Indonesian street food restaurant in Aldershot or Bamboo Shoots in Guildford.

It was then on to Tilly Shilling, a Wetherspoon pub.

Poor choice of beer. I picked Old Speckled Hen. It was off, tasted vile, smelt vile, best described as vinegar.

Waiter took one whiff and agreed and changed for a half of Brew Dog Punk IPA. I should have requested a pint.

Burger not good.

Wetherspoon has gone rapidly down hill. Poor choice of beer, food never good, corners cut to maintain profitability.

At night this pub is the go to for the local drunks boozing on cheap booze. Dreadful inside, and on the street causing a nuisance with their drunken noise, screaming and shouting into the early hours of the morning.

Police and local council need to act to either get Wetherspoon to clean up their act or shut the pub down. At the very least make tables outside no smoking and close at midnight.

Growlers & Cans

June 28, 2019

Popped in Growlers & Cans.

A rough bar, through not really even a bar, more of a shop where can also have a beer.

High quality craft beer, far better than would find in any local pub, though currently limited selection.

Strange set up. Buy a bottle of beer, then pay a pound to drink it. I’d rather take it to the park.

Beer on tap, 2/3 or a pint. I asked did they do a 1/3? I had a 1/3 of an excellence beer. At £2 for 1/3 that would make it £6 a pint, though cheaper if bought a pint.

Crap coffee from Redber. I advised ditch it and buy better quality coffee, but would also need to employ a top quality barista.

Never buy cheap low quality coffee, it is false economy. Spoilt for choice for quality coffee roasters. Try River Coffee Roasters or Chimney Fire Coffee.

These days it is coffee shops where find quality craft beer not pubs. It would be an interesting combination craft beer and speciality coffee, add food too.

Later I walked through the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre to find Redber had pulled out.

Craft beer at Warehouse

May 16, 2019

Not somewhere I would go for coffee as not good.

Craft beer not that great either.

Where pretentious people gather.

The Brewhouse Project

July 25, 2018

The Brewhouse Project is a joint crowdfunded venture between Edgcumbes Coffee and Arundel Brewery.

Should they raise the funds they wish to create a café, roastery and brewery located on a site outside Arundel serving and selling craft beer and freshly roasted speciality coffee.

It will be possible to drink a coffee and smell the beans being roasted, drink a beer and see it being brewed.

It is hoped to have a food truck at weekends and evenings.

Death of the pub and the rise of coffee shops

January 1, 2018

Has the pub had its day, can it be replaced with something better?

According to a snippet on ITV News at the tail end of last year looking at the reopening of a pub, closed for a year, now reopened owned by the community, 29 pubs a week are closing.

If this figure is correct, and not simply regurgitating old statistics, then rate of pub closures as was several years ago. Actually the closure rate accelerating, four years ago it was 26 pubs a week.

Why? Why are pubs closing at an accelerating rate?

Pubcos are one cause of pub closure. These are property owning companies, zombie companies that make no money, can barely service their debt by screwing pub landlords and selling off assets, have large property holdings in pubs. They charge unaffordable rents, landlords are forced to buy drinks through the pubco well in excess of market rate, the landlord goes bankrupt, along comes the next mug to be fleeced of their life savings, or the pub if occupying a prime site sold off for redevelopment.

Pubcos are the classic example of extend and pretend. The banks keep them afloat. Kept afloat they can be listed on the balance sheet as an asset, when in reality they should be on the opposite side and would be if allowed to go bankrupt. There is no realistic possibility of loan repayment.

We also have an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Pubs were owned by breweries. The pub forced to buy from the brewery. The punter left with little or no choice, price hikes, especially if the brewery maintains a local monopoly.

The breweries were stripped of their pubs.

What should have happened, landlords bought the pubs, ran as independent businesses free of the brewery tie. Unfortunately this did not happen. Property developers, the pubcos, borrowed heavily and bought the pubs.

For a brewery, a common interest with the pub in doing well. The more beer the pub sells, the more beer the brewery sells.

For the pubco, no common interest. If the pub closes, find another fool to part from their money or sell off for redevelopment.

Pubcos though are only part of the story.

Too many pubs are badly run, very badly run. They are not pleasant places to be. Noisy, dirty, moronic music blasting out, widescreen TV, pub quizzes, drunken loud mouth idiots, rude and bored bar staff wishing they were elsewhere, serving disgusting rubbish from a global conglomerate chemical factory.

Too many examples could be given. But to list a few. A pub that served excellent, if expensive meals, changes to serving disgusting food but still overpriced; a pub where it was possible to sit in the back courtyard, relax over lunch, clueless new landlord takes over, insults the chef, chef leaves, where once excellent food, choice now burger burger or burger, illegal structures built in the courtyard, goes down market, noise and nuisance alienates neighbours and local council; historic pubs, heritage buildings, destroyed by inappropriate developments; a pub where is was pleasant to sit by the river, until smokers took over — the list is endless.

I have not named the pubs, but others could easily write similar lists, and some will know the pubs I am talking about.

Why have no lessons been learnt from Tim Martin and Wetherspoon? I am no fan of Wetherspoon, or the food they serve, but at least they try, they serve real ale. A pity they insult coffee drinkers and serve LavAzza coffee, even worse from a  machine.

But have the audacity to say pubs badly run, and the pissed trolls emerge from under their bar stools to add their ill-informed two-penny worth. And this included an abusive Camra regional official. A bit like being in a pub.

What we are seeing is an example of postcapitalism. The economy goes one of two ways.

  1. Serfs working for apps, eg Deliveroo and Uber, low paid part time temporary soul destroying McShit jobs, eg bar work, companies like Wagamama and the coffee chains.
  2. Open coops, collaborative commons, sharing society.

If pubs are to have a future, and looking at the current crisis, this is doubtful, pubcos have to be stripped of their pubs, as was the breweries, run free of tie, run as open coops, and far better managed than too many are currently.

Indie coffee shops are rapidly becoming the third place, the place to be to relax, not work, not home.

A well run indie artisan coffee shop, pleasant ambience, clean, art on the walls, live music, acoustic, jazz, classical, people sat chatting with friends, or sat reading a book or working on a laptop, craft beer, quality food and wine, books to browse, and of course serving excellent speciality coffee. And for lone females, added advantage of not being sexually harassed.

It is somewhat ironic, more likely to find craft beer, wine worth drinking, in a coffee shop than in a pub.

Warehouse Speciality Blends is known for its wine, The Underdog for craft beer,  Taylor Made for its cocktails,  Just Made 33 for its food. All serve speciality coffee, either roast their own beans or source from a reputable roastery, take a pride in their coffee.

Atlantis Cafe is a coffee shop in Liopetri, a one horse town, difficult to get to, where tumbleweed blowing through would not look out of place, a coffee shop with a pleasant ambience, where people relax, chat with their friends, play backgammon, that is busy until late. In the tourist areas, the slum bars attract the drunks, the bottom end of the tourist market, stay open until late, but are not busy, many are facing closure. The tourist industry spiralling downwards, the situation in the Middle East granting a temporary reprieve.

Atlantis Cafe, middle of nowhere, is busier than the tourist bars.

Coffee shops in Europe were the places of intellectual dialogue, political and philosophical discourse, haunts of artists. This did not happen in the English ale house, violent political discourse would have rapidly led to blood being shed.  The amount of alcohol consumed leading to retarded offspring.

When was the last time you saw bouncers on the door or a fight break out in a coffee shop?

What if a pub closes, a building that has historic value, is registered locally as a building of historic value, its community value recognised by registering as an Asset of Community Value (though it is difficult to claim a pub an Asset of Community Value when a myth it ever was), sits empty for several months, is stripped bare, restored to how it was as an historic building, reopens as an artisan coffee shop by people who are passionate about coffee, maybe in the evening a restaurant, where the emphasis is on ambience, service, good food, serves craft beer, wine, a venue that hosts cultural events, live music, book discussions and book signings, poetry reading, serves as a gallery for local artists, have we lost anything, or has the community and the local economy gained?

Anspach & Hobday bottled craft beer

July 21, 2017

I had never heard of Anspach & Hobday bottled craft beer until Paul Anspach and Jack Hobday introduced four bottles at a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

Four bottles of craft beer, with an explanation on each: The IPA, The Pale Ale, The Smoked Brown and The Sour Dry Hop.

The IPA and The Pale Ale hoppy and bitter, The Smoked Brown hints of smoked bacon,  I decided to give a miss.  The Sour Dry Hop I tried. Very unusual, hints of elder flower.

I suggested, as we had had coffee cupping, now time for beer cupping.

I was invited to pay their brewery in Bermondsey a visit.

It is always a good sign to see small indie businesses, promoting quality and innovation, supporting each other.

 

cerveza en Magic Corner

February 20, 2016
Dorada Especial Roja

Dorada Especial Roja

Dorada Especial Roja en Magic Corner.

Magic Corner, formerly Maggies, illustrates all what is wrong with bars in Puerto de la Cruz and why they are empty and why the local tourist industry is collapsing.

Noisy, no decent beer on tap.  I was the only one there last night, and the night before.

The only reason I was there, free wifi and very heavy rain.

It has closed, re-opened, closed, re-opened.

La Atlantico Beer Shop

March 19, 2015
La Atlantico Beer Shop

La Atlantico Beer Shop

It is usual to see a wine shop, racks of wine. Far less usual to see similar selling bottles of beer.

Each bottle has a tied on label giving information on the beer.

Fair deal for pubs

November 19, 2014
Sharp's Doom Bar

Sharp’s Doom Bar

Last night saw an historic victory for pubs. The government was defeated in the House of Commons.

The result

  • pub landlords will be able to have their rents reviewed by an independent body
  • pubs will be able to terminate the pubco tie
  • pubs will be able to by their drinks on the open market, not at artificially inflated prices from the pubos

Pubs are understandably delighted.

For beer drinkers, no more rubbish beer in the pub and prices should drop.

The shares of pubos have gone into free fall.

The pubcos say this is bad news for pubs, will lead to more pub closures.

Why then are pub landlords celebrating?

It means their businesses becomes viable. Currently, only free houses (not tied to pubcos) are viable.

It will only lead to more pub closures if pubcos sell off more pubs to service their debt (which is what they have been doing).

Shame on those MPs who voted in favour of the pubcos.

Name and shame your MP.

We know Gerald Howarth voted for the pubcos. Is anyone surprised?

We must thanks Greg Mulholland and Caroline Lucas whose hard work made this possible.

Slowly slowly, we are starting to see self-serving politicians act for the people not Big Business.

Last night another historic victory. In the US Senate the Keystone XL Pipeline (to bring oil from tar sands in Canada to the US) was defeated.

Today, students tore down the fencing and once again occupied Parliament Square. Remember liar Nick Clegg who promised free student tuition fees and voted with his Tory cronies to triple student fees.

Yesterday, the Czech President was egged.

Today, people took to the streets in Hungary to bring down the corrupt government.

The Little Beer Corporation

May 30, 2014
The Little Beer Corporation

The Little Beer Corporation

Always something new.

Today I learnt Guildford has a microbrewery, or as they call themselves, a nanobrewery.

I came across these beers in of all places a butcher, The Joint, in Jeffries Passage in Guildford, not where you’d expect to find beer (they have wine too), but then no ordinary butcher. But then you do not expect to see a butcher opening in the heart of a town centre.

The Little Beer Corporation has a surprisingly large range. They were established through crowd funding. I am surprised they do not have a stall on the Guildford farmers market.

The businesses model is different to most microbreweries, hope to find an outlet in a few pubs, and rely on Wetherspoon to pick up what is left at knock down price before it is poured down the drain. The Little Beer Corporation sell direct to their supporters, plus local outlets like The Joint.

Assuming they have a drinks licence, and assuming this beer is any good (I have yet to try), Harris + Hoole would be a good place to have on sale. And Café Mila in Godalming.

For a business that is locally based, community supported, I am shocked that they direct people to listen to music on spotify. Maybe they are not aware of the extent to which spotify rips off musicians. Please direct to sites like bandcamp, that actually support musicians.